As Anthony and Rachel Brinkley welcome their third daughter-in-law to the family, they don't quite realize the profound shift that is about to take place. For different reasons, the Brinkleys' two previous daughters-in-law hadn't been able to resist Rachel's maternal control and Anthony's gentle charm and had settled into their husbands' family without rocking the boat. But Charlotte - very young, very beautiful, and spoiled - has no intention of falling into step with the Brinkleys and wants to establish her own household. Soon Rachel's sons begin to think of their own houses as home and of their mother's house as simply the place where their parents live - a necessary and inevitable shift of loyalties that threatens Rachel's sense of herself, breaks Anthony's heart, and causes unexpected consequences in all the marriages. Then a crisis brings these changes to the surface, and everyone has to learn what family love means all over again.